A few years ago my niece Hailey (then 11) and her BFF decided they wanted to co-write a book.
They had a brilliant idea and set to work on it while Aunt Diana lurked in the other room listening to the keys clicking and imagining the brillant prose they were writing.
After an hour I couldn't stand it any more."Can I read what you've written?" I asked looking at the screen.
"Uh, well, we haven't exactly written anything yet," they announced. "We've been working on the font and colors for the byline. Look! Pretty cool, huh?"
Yup, there it was: the name of their book (which I am withholding for legal and copyright purposes) and their byline in all its multicolored, multifont glory.
Fonts are fun, but finishing is better
If you've started writing your book (over and over again) but never seem to finish it...or if you've started writing 10 books and never finished any of them, please read today's post on The 99 Percent by Elizabeth Grace Saunders called "Why Can't I Finish?"
Here's an excerpt:
"As a time management life coach, I’ve found that many of my clients have a dread of finishing that they keep hidden away—hoping that no one will ever notice that they get a lot of little things done while never quite completing the really important stuff.
"Whether it’s due to a rabid perfectionism, an aversion to criticism, or just an inability to maintain enthusiasm for the long haul, we all have challenges and fears we must overcome to produce work that matters. But pretending they don’t exist won’t get us anywhere."
She follows this up with a guide to "diagnosing and treating" 4 of the most common barriers to completing a creative project. Read her post for more info about these.
We can excuse 11 year olds for getting caught up in the creative process, but if you're a grown adult reading this, finish your book already!
I've found that as creative types we love to start projects. It's oh-so-fun to dream up an idea. To think about it. To mull it over. To plan it. To start it. To think about what the packaging or cover or logo will look like...
Then we reach the hard part...where it's challenging...where we have to press through the Dip.
And suddenly another Great Idea calls out, "Look at me! Over here! Drop what you're doing and pay attention to ME!"
In the words of The 99 Percent, "It's not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen."
In the words of Diana Scimone, "Great book ideas are a dime a dozen. Finished books are priceless."
To the credit of Hailey and her BFF, they did actually move beyond choosing the colors of their byline and started writing their book. One of many. And my niece, now 14, has turned out to be a fantastic writer who will soon give Aunt Diana a run for her money. She has plenty of time to finish all the books she's started.
You, however, don't. So finish your book already!
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UPDATE: Please see Hailey's comment about the progress they've made. :-)